JD Sports targeting former B&Q executive as its new CEO

Regis Schultz

JD Sports Fashion, the Bury-based sports and athleisurewear retailer, is poised to appoint Regis Schultz as its new chief executive.

The appointment could happen within the next few days, according to Sky News.

French national Mr Schultz was an executive at DIY chain B&Q, part of FTSE-100 group Kingfisher. He also ran French supermarket chain Monoprix and is currently with Dubai-based retail conglomerate Al-Futtaim Group.

He is expected to step into the chief executive’s role and run JD following the departure of former executive chairman Peter Cowgill in May this year.

He had run the business without a chief executive since 2014 and had been embroiled in spats with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Following his departure Kath Smith was appointed interim CEO, while former Morrisons chairman, Andy Higginson, joined the board as chair on July 11. He has been involved in the search for a new chief executive.

Mr Schultz is highly regarded in the retail sector for his grasp of digital transformation.

Mr Cowgill had been at the helm of JD Sports since 2004, leading its IPO to its current position as a FTSE 100 member and a business valued at more than £6.7bn.

He had been criticised by shareholders for the amount of control he exercised within the business, with his actions leading to a fine from the CMA in February in relation to the retailer’s blocked £90m acquisition of Rochdale-based Footasylum.

The CMA had ordered JD Sports to dispose of Footasylum, and it was reported the group is in exclusive talks with private equity firm, Aurelius Group, over a sale.

In June this year the CMA said JD Sports and Elite Sports, along with Glasgow Rangers Football Club, had broken competition law by fixing the prices of some Rangers-branded clothing to keep them high.

Last Friday, at the group’s AGM, JD Sports revealed that sales in the first five months of its current financial year are currently five per cent ahead of the previous year.

It told shareholders that the headline profit before tax and exceptional items for the year end January 28, 2023 will be in line with the record performance for the year ended January 29, 2022.

It also said that the three month intensive programme of works to address priority issues on governance and regulatory compliance matters is progressing as anticipated.